Strengths of Polish Plastics Industry

According to the latest review of the plastics processing industry in Poland issued by the Applied Market Information Group (AMI), there are signs that growth in that industry may have peaked. Although there have been substantial increases in polymer consumption in Poland recently—the market is expected to have advanced by nearly half a million tonnes in the five-year period 1997-2002—rates of expansion have slowed notably in the past two years. Polish polymer demand is expected to be up no more than 5% in 2002, compared with 8% growth in 2001 and 11% in 2000.

The AMI report characterizes the Polish plastics processing industry as highly fragmented, with a large number of small, family businesses. AMI’s report details over 1,300 of the most important companies. The processes carried out by these companies are illustrated in the pie chart shown above. (Some companies carry out more than one process, so there is some double counting.)

The largest number of companies are involved in injection moulding. There has been considerable growth in this sector as foreign-owned component suppliers moved in as suppliers to automotive and appliance manufacturers.

While injection moulders are the most numerous, the largest sector of the plastics processing industry in Poland in terms of volume is film extrusion. Again, there has been increasing investment by foreign companies.

Nearly all other sectors of plastics processing have seen considerable involvement from Western-owned groups. However, while Poland has been very successful in attracting high levels of foreign direct investment (FDI)— some $7.14 billion for 2001—approximately 70% of processors identified by AMI are privately owned.

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